Suella Braverman plays down resignation talk over Northern Ireland Protocol deal
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has played down suggestions she could resign amid concerns among some Tory MPs that Rishi Sunak is conceding too much ground to the EU in talks over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Mrs Braverman, who quit as a minister in Theresa May’s government over her Brexit deal, said she was confident the present Prime Minister was committed to safeguarding Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.
Her comments came amid reports that some ministers are prepared to walk away if they consider Mr Sunak has given away too much to secure a deal with Brussels.
In an interview with GB News, Mrs Braverman said: “I don’t think we need to be talking about resignation.
“I’ve taken a very forthright position in the past because I’ve found the terms of previous agreements intolerable.
“I don’t support selling out on Northern Ireland and allowing the EU a foothold in the United Kingdom.
“It’s absolutely vital we safeguard what we’ve gained from the Brexit vote, that we go forward as a United Kingdom where the integrity of our Union is safeguarded and we properly take back control.
“I know the Prime Minister shares that objective.”
Mrs Braverman denied Mr Sunak had abandoned legislation going through Parliament to enable ministers unilaterally to override the protocol – a measure she has described an “important tool” in negotiations with the EU.
“That’s not my perception. I know that the Prime Minister is absolutely committed to resolving this issue, regardless of the implications,” she said.
Her comments came as Downing Street indicated the Government would not drop the Protocol Bill – currently paused in the House of Lords – unless there was a new agreement with the EU.
The Prime Minister’s press secretary told reporters: “It is a longstanding position of the Government that we want to resolve the issues in partnership with the EU by negotiation rather than legislate domestically.
“In the absence of that negotiated solution, the Protocol Bill is an important piece of legislation to ensure we safeguard Northern Ireland’s position in the Union.”
In her interview, Mrs Braverman said the Government was committed to working with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which is refusing to return to powersharing in the Stormont Assembly unless there is fundamental change to the protocol.
“We have always worked very closely with the DUP. They are unionists. They speak for a significant portion of the community in Northern Ireland and they need to be around the table,” she said.
“Ultimately Stormont will only function if the DUP supports any proposal.”